Investment attraction vs. entrepreneurs

I just read the printed version in the TJ of my treatise on the need for NB to attract more multinationals. Aside from my use of ‘are’ in the place of ‘our’ (I write a lot but make this mistake often), I hope it made some sense. It’s hard to tell with a concept like this. People hav entrenched notions of the nobility of the ‘little guy’ and the nastiness of the greedy multinationals. And when UPM and others close their NB plants like the thousands of people that are affected are just business ‘inputs’ like trees or machinery, this reinforces that viewpoint.

But we have to resist this tempation. The truth is that the ‘little guys’ – small to medium sized businesses in New Brunswick go out out business at 20-30 times the rate of large businesses – it’s just that when the big guys go, they really go, if you know what I mean.

We need to get that mix right. A lot of our multinationals from the 20th century are shaking out. Now we need new multinationals from 21st century industries – of which we have very little.

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0 Responses to Investment attraction vs. entrepreneurs

  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought your article in the TJ today was well done and bang on.

    This concept of the inventor or entrepreneur who has some sort of divine thought magically enter his/her head that leads to a homegrown global success story is the stuff of dreams. However, it is a low probability bet and while it makes for good news stories (and maybe books and movies), it happens infrequently and virtually never happens in the abscence of an instigator (like a multinational business that you either supply to or spin out your business from).

    As you suggest, we need DFI and we need to attract major corporations to seed our SME successes. We also need to gain better access to, and make better use of, federal economic development dollars. Finally, we need to agree on a logical promising initiative for the province and support the investments in the areas that the business has the best chance to be viable. Our infighting and division has allowed the feds to ignore us while Ontario (automotive) and Quebec (aerospace) scoop up the federal money because they have identfied and have majority agreement on a strategic sector.

    While it is nice to have the ribbon cutting photo op for a new tourist information booth, sewage treatment plant, highway (or even a convention center), this is not adequate to convert a have not province to a have province and certainly is not the best use of funds that are intended for economic development.

    I fully support the eforts to stimulate SMEs and local entrepreneurs however this cannot be the sole focus; we need a balanced approach.